Luke: Chapter 4 - Temptation

Bible Study @ Hurst Gospel Hall

Author: John Whitmarsh
Added: 2015-05-26

CHAPTER 4

 

TEMPTATION

 

Verses 1-13 The Lord Jesus is tested

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.


General if the genealogy in chapter 3 is the Birth Certificate, this section is the Test Certificate of purity and trustworthiness. Alternatively it is perhaps the hallmark of purity. It is the validation of Luke 1: 35 that Holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

 

There is the call in scripture to preach Christ and him crucified; 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Additionally the gospel is founded upon Him.

 

Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

See also Matthew 11: 28 30, John 3: 16 and John 14: 6

 

God is demonstrating in a wonderful way the absolute reliability of the Son of God, the one who died for our sins.

 

Background

 

The preaching of John the Baptist Matthew 3: 1 12 & Mark 1: 1-8 Luke 3: 3 - 20

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized Matthew 3: 13 Luke 3:21 Mark 1: 9, 10

The baptism of the Lord Jesus by John to fulfil all righteousness Matthew 3.13-15

The Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him Matthew 3:16, Mark 1: 10 &11 Luke 3:22, 23

The voice from heaven This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased Matthew 3.17 Luke 3:22

Jesus began to be about 30 years of age Luke 3: 23

The genealogy of the Lord from Joseph (being as was supposed) the son of Joseph, through to ..

the son of Adam, which was the son of God Luke 3: 23 - 38

 

The testing

 

The Lord returns from Jordan where He had been baptised, and immediately His period of testing began. Note that Matthew when he described this same set of events in chapter four of the gospel account that bears his name did so putting them in chronological order. Luke, however, described them in their moral order.

 

LESSON: more than often when we experience spiritual blessing and obedience to the Lord, then the evil one comes in with his most aggressive attacks. He didnt stumble into this. He was led by the Holy Spirit.

 

The context is a scene in the wilderness. (Adam was tempted against a backdrop of absolute blessing and perfection, Job was tested against great material and family success). The Greek word for tempt really means to try or test.

 

First Temptation a very natural one (the BODY the lust of the flesh); we can all identify with the look, smell and taste of fresh bread; however, this was put to someone who had eaten nothing for 40 days. He was passing through that which other men of God had passed look at Moses and Elijah. He would have been hungry, weak, and probably more tired.

 

Thoughts - the if Satan uses is not of doubt, but rather the sense of since. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the deed or the action in itself, but it was not the Lords timing. It was something that the Lord would do later for others, the 4000; the 5000; the disciples on the shore after His resurrection. The Lord would not show off His powers to satisfy the tempter. The devil is almost saying having been declared to be the Son of God, let us see some tangible proof of that declaration. It was something that in type He would do Himself. He was The Rock that would become the Bread of Life

 

Exodus 34:28 And he (Moses) was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

1 Kings 19:8 And he (Elijah) arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

 

First response

 

Deuteronomy 8: 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

 

The Lord sets out that mans absolute priority is a spiritual one. It was a very plausible temptation, and many are so today that the devil puts to us.

 

Second temptation - the devil took Him up into a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world (the SOUL the lust of the eyes). Contrast with the mount of transfiguration where the Lord reveals Himself in all His glory to 3 disciples

 

Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

 

The viewing would have been super natural, you would not have seen all the kingdoms. The devil is still doing the same today; many Christians have been put in situations where career and money are required to be put before the Lords work, for other career and possessions are placed before family and the Lords work. The devil offers power as well as the kingdoms. We see our own politicians, Union leaders, terrorists, and other in prominent positions seeking the power and money that goes with such position.

 

This was more than power or influence; the devil was seeking worship of him.

 

Second response

 

The Lord does not dream up His own thoughts or response, but responds solely with scripture.

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;

15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Psalm 81:9 There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.

Micah 5:13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.

 

Third temptation the devil took Him to Jerusalem and invited Him to cast himself down off a pinnacle of the temple (the SPIRIT the pride of life). The devil invited Him to do something flamboyant and demonstrative, however, the devil very cleverly backs it up with supporting scripture this time (though he misquoted Psalm 91 adding at any time which involves recklessness)

 

Psalm 91:9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

 

Third response the Lord answers with a quote from Deuteronomy again

 

16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

The devil departed for a season.

 

Events after the temptation :-

 

The devil leaveth him, and behold angels came and ministered unto him. And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Naphthalim that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet Matthew 4:11 and Isaiah 9:1 & 2

And the angels ministered unto him Mark 1:13

the devil departed from him for a season, and Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee and there went out a fame of him throughout all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues being glorified of all Luke 4: 13 15

In Matthew He simply called Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John

In Luke He appeared in the synagogue, a complete contrast with the last temptation

 

Other scriptures about the Lords testing

 

Hebrews 2.18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour (run to the aid of) them that are tempted.

 

Hebrews 4.15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. We believe this to mean that He was tested body, soul and spirit.

 

Verses 14-32 Not accepted in Galilee

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. 22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? 23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. 24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. 28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way, 31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.


We must ever remember as we travel through this gospel account that the Son of man had come to seek and to save that which was lost. In the first section of this particular chapter the subject has been real temptations that were a challenge to the Saviours deity. The Lord Jesus came through this period undefeated and untarnished by Satan. The truth was defended. In many ways the Lord Jesus was on the defensive during the temptation, the testing period but now we encounter Him on the offensive as He commences His preaching on moving from the wilderness to Galilee. Luke omits much of what took place around this time and of which we are told elsewhere especially in Johns gospel account. Luke is interested in the Spirit (the word for spirit has been used eight times by the time we reach verse 18 of this chapter though many of these refer to the human spirit; the Holy Spirit is in mind when the word is used in verses 1, 14 and 18 of this chapter).

 

The Lord Jesus returned to His home town (not His birth town) of Nazareth. He preached in the synagogue and was persecuted in His home town. It was His habit to go to the synagogue (verses 15-16). He often preached in synagogues but this is the only time we are told of Him reading there. Traditionally there are seven readings. The first was by the priest. The second by a Levite. The remaining readings were by invited members of the synagogue. The scriptures would have been a scroll lovingly handwritten. Normally the reading would have been from the law but the Lord Jesus was able to read from the prophets (Isaiah 61.1-2).

 

The Lord Jesus was the fulfilment of the verses that He read from Isaiah (verse 21). The Lord Jesus was qualified by the Spirit (He was upon Him in full measure John 3.34) and commissioned by that same Spirit (He had anointed Him to preach the gospel). The Lord Jesus opened the scriptures for to read and stood to do so. When He had finished He handed the book (roll) back to the attendant and then sat down to teach or, if we like, open up the scriptures to the gathered company. The message was not just for poor Jews or broken-hearted Jews but poor and broken-hearted from whatever race they were. It was an evangelistic message that was not designed for ear tickling. To listen to a message that warms the heart and tickles the ears is not enough. There has to be a response. The message was one of deliverance from sin and its consequences and its judgment. It was a message of recovery. The Lord Jesus did not want to see the status quo maintained. He had come to stir up and bring back to God. The message was one of liberty (there are echoes of the release associated with the year of jubilee within the passage). The final phrase that He read was about the acceptable year of the Lord and the verse was not completed as the remainder was inappropriate for the time. The next phrase was about vengeance and He had not come for vengeance. He may be the Lord but that time was not when the lord was to show vengeance. Vengeance and it will be seen but He had come with a message of salvation and joy. As He spoke to show that He was the fulfilment of all of this that had been written 750 years beforehand the eyes of everyone were fixed on Him. How wonderful that would be were that the case as we spoke of Him.

 

Not only were they amazed as they saw Him but the people wondered at the gracious words that He spoke and remembered Him as Josephs son in the sense that they thought Him to be a more wonderful character than the one they saw in the carpenters shop but that soon changed when mention was made of those outside of Israel and they came to realise that this one had not just come for Jews. In verse 22 He is wonderful; in verse 28 they are wrathful. What caused the change of heart? Their fickleness, yes, but It was His general statement against them that a prophet does not have honour and acceptance in his own country that provoked the reaction. He made it clear that there was a widow from Sarepta (Zarapheth) helped and that this place was outside of the nation. It was this widow alone that was helped in Eliass (Elijahs) time as a prophet and she was not a Jewess (I Kings 17). Furthermore in Eliseuss (Elishas) time there was only one leper that was healed and he was a Syrian (II Kings 5) and not a Jew. It was these things that turned their wonderment to wrath. Their wonderment did not equate to salvation and neither does wonderment alone equate to salvation today. It is repentance and faith in the one who should be the source of wonderment to every living soul.

 

They wanted to kill Him. The Lord Jesus reminded them in verse 23 that they wanted to see a miracle. They saw one for there was a crowd hell-bent on His destruction and death but He on His own passed through the midst of them and remained unharmed. He had no sword or stave, no arms of any kind but He was preserved from this angry mob. In verse 22 they marvelled at the gracious words that He spoke but their wonder changed to wrath. In verse 32 and having come to Capernaum (from Nazareth we never read of Him returning to that town) there were more who heard His doctrine and were astonished at His words for He spake with power.

 

Verses 33-44 - The miracle worker - He laid His hands on every one of them

33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. 36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. 37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about. 38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. 40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. 42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. 43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. 44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.


The remarkable words of this section describe a day in the life of the Lord Jesus. We believe Him to be the Son of God - God and man in one person. No one else could cast out demons like this. The section sets out the power and authority of the Lord Jesus:

In teaching (verse 32)

Over demons (verses 33-36)

Over diseases of every kind (verses 38-41).

This Person is clearly God. He speaks the truth and acts in power.

 

There were four different locations in which He dwelt:

 

1. The synagogue (verses 33-37), sphere of religion

2. The home (verses 38-39), sphere of the family

3. The street (verses 40-41), sphere of society

4. The desert (verses 42-43), sphere of the prophet.

 

1. Sphere of Religion (verses 33-37) Sin

 

Capernaum was His own city (Matt. 9.1, And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city)and was the centre of His service for two years of public ministry. The city had three busy highways to Tyre & Sidon, Damascus and Jerusalem. The synagogue was built by a Gentile (Luke 7.1 and 5, And a certain centurions servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.For he (the centurion) loveth our nation, and hath built us a synagogue) and Jairus was one of its rulers (Luke 8.41, And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was ruler of the synagogue.).

 

Verse 33. A man had a spirit of an unclean demon. He was mixed up with the religion of men and Satan. 1John 3.8, For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. We are like this man. You may say, But I am not demon possessed but every soul is lost under the power of Satan. Satan is real and powerful. He is alive and well. He seeks to confuse mankind and blind them from the truth of God. He has blinded the minds of them which believe not (II Corinthians 4.4). God desires that our eyes might be opened and we might turn from darkness to light (Acts 26.18, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith which is in me (the Lord).

 

Verse 34 what have we to do with thee nothing! There could be no connection or fellowship between them and the Lord. He is the Holy One of God; they were and are evil, wicked, and sinful. We are sinners and have disobeyed God. Satan wants us to believe that this does not matter or that it is not true. Satan seeks to blind us from the truth that sin will separate us from God and condemn us to eternal judgment.

 

Verse 35 Hold thy peace (literally be muzzled) and come out of Him. He called the demon out of the man and saved his soul.

 

Verse 36 they were all amazed astonished, dumbfounded, rendered immovable at Him. In effect they gaped at Him with their mouths open. He is the only one who is able to release us from Satans power. Are we amazed at Him? He can release us from Satans power and forgive our sins. Religion cannot save us, Christ can! Hebrews 9.28, So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.

 

Verse 37 fame the sound, echo and uproar concerning Him spread into all the surrounding area. This had significance and bearing upon what was to happen in a few hours time (verses 40-41). A few hours later there was the biggest Accident and Emergency station in Capernaum at any time.

 

2. Sphere of the Family (verses 38-39) Salvation

 

Verse 38 - Houses and hospitality are important to Luke. The Lord Jesus entered into Simons house where Simons mother-in-law was taken with a great fever fevers were classified into little and great in those days. She was close to death. They besought him (once) for her those who knew His previous miracles asked in faith.

 

Verse 39 He stood over her and rebuked the fever. It left her and, immediately, she arose and ministered unto them. This was instantaneous, complete and lasting healing. Sin (pictured by the fever) has dangerous consequences, for it causes death, spiritual death. The Lord Jesus can bring instant and complete salvation. Acts 4.12, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. This salvation is freely obtained by faith. Ephesians 2.8, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. If we are willing to ask the Lord Jesus to save our souls then He is willing to save.

 

3. Sphere of Society (verses 40-41) See also Mark 1.32-33 Salvation

 

Verse 40 - In response to the roar (verse 37) which sounded out concerning Him, the whole city gathered to the door of the house with a procession of sick and diseased. Divers diseases various sorts. Every different kind of sickness and disease was brought to Him. He laid his hands on each one of them separately and healed them. He identified Himself with each individual and granted salvation (from disease) to all who came.

 

We have all inherited the sin disease. Some are greater sinners than others, but all need Gods salvation. He laid His hands on every one. Not one is excluded from salvation, all can be saved! John 6.37, All that the father hath given to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 3.16, For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Hebrews 2.9, That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. How is this possible? By identifying Himself with us (Bethlehem) and our sins (Calvary).

 

Verse 41 - As in v.35, the Lord Jesus would not accept testimony or honour from demons or unbelieving men. He desired that men and women should come to their own appreciation and conviction of Who He is! John 5:41, I receive not honour from men.

 

4. Sphere of the Prophet (verses 42-44) Service

 

Verses 42-44 - Through the evening and much of the night He healed. In the morning, a great while before day He went into the wilderness (desert) to pray (Mark 1.35, And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.). This is the secret of powerful Christian living. Time alone and apart with God in prayer. The people sought Him; they craved after Him. But He had been sent to spread the glad message.

John 20.21, Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.